The polls in South Carolina closed 52 minutes ago, and ABC News projects that John McCain and Mike Huckebee will finish first and second (or second and first) with Fred Thompson battling Mitt Romney for third. A third place finish could spell the end for Thompson and hopes for a conservative Republican candidate in 2008. A win for McCain could put the Arizona Senator and former POW on a wave that would carry him to the nomination--and a brutal defeat in November. PunditGuy, too, wonders if this is the end for Fred.
Republican moderates don't beat Democrat liberals for the same reason people who want dangerous dogs don't buy Poodles. Yes, you can abuse a Poodle until it's vicious, but it's a lot easier just to buy a Pit Bull.